Thirukkural - A Treasure of Wisdom

" I wanted to learn Tamil only to enable me to study Valluvar's Thirukkural through his mother tongue itself. Only a few us know the name of Thiruvalluvar.There is none who has given such a treasure of wisdom like him" - M.K.Gandhi. "There hardly exists in the literature of the world a collection of maxims in which we find such lofty wisom" - 1952 Nobel Price winner Albert Schwetzer Thirukkural is a universal and secular wisdom.

Friday, December 30, 2005


Thirukkural is an encyclopedia of Art of Living. Written about 2000 years back in Tamil by Thiruvalluvar, this book has three sections - Goodness(Aram), Material life(Porul), and Love between partners(Inbam). Kural - short verse ; Thiru - prefix representing respect.

Thirukkural has 1330 short verses, divided into 133 themes(Athikaram). These 133 themes cover various aspects and stages of human life. To date Thirukkural has been translated in 34 languages. Although this book is written in Tamil, there is no reference to any language,caste,religion and nation !. We can all benefit from this great book.

How can Thirukkural help you ?
* First Thirukkural can help you undestand and apply principles of nature in your life, so that you are happy and successful.

* Thirukkural is a well organized text. All the 133 themes are interlinked. Since each theme has 10 short verses, it is easy to memorize. This can greatly improve your imagination and memory skills.

My Experience with Thirukkural
Although i studied Thirukkural in my school , i did not appreciate its greatness until october 2004. It all started in the year 2000 with this book - Tirukkural - The handbook of Tamil culture and heritage(ISBN 0-9676-2120-8) , published by International Tamil Language Foundation( In December 2003, i read about a person Kanaka Subburathinam, who can do about 8 or more things at the same time. One of these is his ability to say any Thirukkural verse if you say its number or the otherway. He has also written a book to teach this memory technique. I was motivated by Kanaka Subburathinam.I also read the book by Thevaneya Pavanar titled 'Thirukkural - Thamiz Marapurai' .

I started memorizing Thirukkural in october 2004. To date i have memorized 276 verses and i hope i can complete this by the year 2007 . I follow a simple technique and here it is ...

Improve your memory and imagination through Thirukkural...
(1) 1330 Thirukkural verses are organized into 133 interconnected themes. Hence it is a natural advantage to link them to the numbers ! I sequence the title of themes and find a link between them and associate with the numbers. For example theme # 5 is 'Family Life(Ilvazkkai )' . The next theme 6 is ' Life's noble partner(vazkkai thunainalam ). If we need a family life, we need to a life partner. The theme # 7 is 'Children(makkat peru). The sequence goes on.. We can use our imagination and creativity to link the themes with the numbers.

(2) Within each theme, there are 10 verses. Make a imaginative story linking these 1o verses. The story should be very lively, colorful. In essence you are taking a short movie for each theme. Use your 5 senses to create this movie. For example you can use the touch sense to place each of these verses and use music(auditory) to make it as a musical expression. Once this is done, hang this movie with the theme and its number.

(3) Picture a big library. If you need a book, you don't search the whole library. You use index card(or computer) to get the location . The location might say 18-4 . You go to the aile # 18 and look at the rack # 4 . Getting a Thirukkural verse from your memory is a similar experience. If i need 376 verse, i will go to the 38th theme('Fate' ) and look for 6 verse. It is that easy !

(3) Create a routine to create 'movies' and memorize the verses. Even if you don't know Tamil, you can still memorize the original verse!. Use flashcards or audio playback for practice. I create colorful, laminated flashcards from Kinkos and they are durable,easy-to-use. I write the number on one side and the verse on the otherside.

(4) Request your family members to help you in this Thirukkural memory practice once a week. They can ask you the number or the beginning phrase. My daughters help me with this and it is truly a connecting experience for all of us ! Practice.. Practice..Practice.

How i am benefiting from Thirukkural Memory exercise ?
Along with my memory, my awareness has improved greatly. I am beginning to understand the building blocks of life. Combined with my other practices such as Yoga and Meditation , Thirukkural memory exercise has become a source of my spiritual energy. As a result, i am able to connect with my family, friends, colleagues in a compassionate manner.

In this blog, i will start sharing my thoughts about the verses and my experiences related to Thirukkural.

Love and Peace,
Karu.Malar Selvan